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Assad: Possibility of war with Israel

by Daniel Sobelman Courtesy of Ha'aretz Monday August 27 2001

Syrian President Bashar Assad said that war with Israel was a distinct possibility, and in such a scenario Israel would be on the losing side in the long term. He also said that "the Oslo Accords no longer exist."

Assad made the comments in a brief interview with the Saudi daily to Al-Sharak Al-Awsat published in London.

"The possibility of war with Israel has existed all the time, before (Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon took power and now during his term," said Assad.

"We believe that military strength is likely to lead to victory in one or several battles, and in the short term Israel will win," he said. "But Israel will be the main loser in a long-term confrontation, not Syria."

In regard to the planned visit of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to Damascus, Assad said, "We welcome him at any time he wants."

Assad also stressed that Arafat's visit needed to be well-planned, to ensure that positive results would be guaranteed in advance.

According to Assad, Syria is demanding from Arafat "excatly what the Palestinian people themselves want: a comprehensive and just peace in which occupied Arab lands are returned, a Palestinian state is established with its capital in Jerusalem and refugees return to their land."

(c) 2001 Ha'aretz

-- Martin Thompson (, August 27, 2001

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